In situations where vegetables, tubers and fruits cannot be easily produced locally, foods fortified with vitamin C need to be distributed. The following options are to be considered for the distribution of vitamin C fortified foods to any emergency affected population:
• Distribute fortified blended cereal-legume foods in the general ration. Blended cereal-legume foods may be suitable foods for distribution during the initial emergency phase of an operation. It is important to ensure that the daily ration contains about 120 mg vitamin C per day, and provided all family members of the at risk population consume the food prepared with the blend.
• Distribute other adequately fortified foods e.g. fortified cereal flour or fortified sugar in the general ration. Milled cereals and sugar are from a technical standpoint the most appropriate commodities of the general ration for fortification with vitamin C. The cost to fortify a product is not high, however, additional costs are incurred with the processing (milling etc.) and packaging of the fortified product as well as quality control of the product. The logistics and feasibility of cereal fortification at distribution sites and the retention of the vitamin during storage, distribution and meal-preparation needs to be assessed.
• Distribute fortified vitamin C-rich foods e.g. tomato paste, orange juice powder. Special foods rich in vitamin C or fortified with the vitamin e.g. orange juice powder or any powdered drink for reconstitution, dried fortified peppers, fortified tomato paste or powder, fortified dry soup mixes or condiments, or fortified candy bars, are relatively expensive and are unlikely to be a serious option except perhaps in special situations. Of these, enriched orange juice powder is by far the least expensive; and at the same time widely acceptable. Further operational research on its use is desirable; particularly as a short-term measure, and for consumption once or twice weekly.